(File photo)

MANILA – Only fully vaccinated individuals, with some exceptions, will be allowed to take public transportation beginning January 17, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) official said Wednesday.

“Para mabigyan ng konting allowance ang mga tao to prepare for this, ang utos ni [DOTr] Secretary [Arthur] Tugade is to make this fully effective by Monday (To give a little leeway and to allow people to prepare, Tugade ordered to make this fully effective by Monday),” DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. said in a virtual presser.

The DOTr issued Department Order No. 2022 – 001 which states that only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to take public transportation to, from, and within NCR.

“This DO shall cover public transportation for individuals who reside outside NCR but who work and/or travel to the same,” the issuance read.

Some exceptions to the mandate include persons with medical conditions that prevent full Covid-19 vaccination “as evidenced by a duly-signed medical certificate with name and contact details of the physician.”

Individuals who will procure essential goods and services such as food, water, and medicine “as evidenced by a duly issued barangay health pass or other appropriate proof to support and justify such travel” are also exempted from the policy.

In a Viber message, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said an antigen test result would not be required for individuals who were exempted for medical conditions.

“Hence, for those passengers claiming to be covered under the medical reason exemption, transport authorities shall only look for their Medical Certificate,” Libiran said.

In response to claims that the vaccine mandate in public transport is “poor, draconian, or punitive,” she said the measure would help ensure the health and safety of the public and public transport workers and “prevent a repeat of public transport shutdown.”

“Mas anti-poor at anti-life kung mahahawa at makakahawa ang ating mga kababayan dahil sila ay hindi bakunado (It is more anti-poor and anti-life if someone gets infected or infects others because they are not vaccinated),” Libiran said. (PNA)